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What Is Culture

These are instances of the true order of cul ture. They illustrate the spirit active in the desire to understand what the world most prizes, and equally they illustrate the mind and body 'willingly laboring to permit the spirit to possess the better things of life that it craves.

But neither a man's labor nor his learning is cultural unless through them he has sought, as the apple tree seeks, to find in environment, not only those essences of food that produce a blossom, but a blossom rich in delicate odor; an odor which is conserved even after the blos som disappears; to be transmitted in the fruit.

As it is true that back of all real culture there is labor, so it is true that the wider one's activity is, the deeper will culture become. When we begin to seek out what men have done we find that we must travel many path ways. As we do so the one guiding principle that we must follow, is the one that permits us to read the man in his works. If the writer and the painter be true men, we shall find in the writings and in the pictures, not only the men (who wrought them, but we shall find that spirit of truth of which they were the apostles. This is, as we have seen already, the essential value to us of learning how to read environment.

In speaking of the influence of college life upon a young man, William De Witt Hyde has said : "To be at home in all lands and all ages; to count nature a familiar acquaintance, and art an intimate friend; to gain a standard for the appreciation of other men's work and the criticism of one's own; to carry the keys of the world's library in one's pocket, and feel its resources behind one in whatever task he un dertakes; to make hosts of friends among the men of one's own age who are to be leaders in all walks of life; to lose one's self in generous enthusiasm and co-operate with others for common ends; to learn manners from students who are gentlemen, and form character under professors who are Christians—these are the returns of a college for the best four years of one's life."

This statement, which may not inappropri ately be called the declaration of independence of the cultured man, is, happily, no less applica ble to the humble worker than it is to the schol ar, or to the man of leisure in any calling. The boy in the office is no less welcome than they are, to know all lands and all ages; he has but to reach forth his hands and the best thoughts about them are his to read and to ponder. By the same means and by the ex ercise of his thoughts he may make art his in timate friend. If he does his own 'work by putting the utmost of his thought into it, he will thereby know how to value the work of other men. When he has learned to read the best books of the world he has it in his power gradually to change his own world. To seek by study, observation and practice the meaning of friendship, will win him friends wherever he may find himself. To co-operate with others to whatever extent he may be able, will show him how great even little philanthropies are. If he be not actually attendant upon the per sonal influence of learned men in college, he may observe them even more clearly in the University of Life of which he is, by the very fact of his birth, a matriculated student.

"Culture is not an accident of birth, although our surroundings advance or retard it; it is al ways a matter of individual education." To find himself interested in life in these and other ways, to have and to exercise the in itiative which makes him one of a busy genera tion, will bring him culture, however humble he may be in his true citizenship.

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